This report summarizes the findings from a web‐based survey of elected officials, managers, fire chiefs and other individuals who are making decisions about and responsible for wildfire preparedness and fuels management in communities across British Columbia (BC) (n = 143). The survey was conducted in June and July 2018 by researchers in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. The purpose of the survey was to better understand the views of forest managers and representatives of municipalities, regional districts, First Nations communities and reserves about the barriers to and solutions for wildfire preparedness. Reducing wildfire risk in communities will require programs, policies and solutions that are based on an understanding of community needs, priorities and barriers to engagement with existing initiatives. This study addresses these questions and provides recommendations for action moving forward.
This 2018 survey strongly reflects the key findings of the 2017 survey in that:
- wildfire preparedness is an urgent issue facing communities across BC.
- Furthermore, it similarly indicates that capacity is a major factor limiting communities’ participation in wildfire prevention and fuel mitigation activities.
- In addition, most respondents in 2018 indicated that a lack of funding from provincial and federal governments has limited progress towards reducing wildfire risk in the WUI.
This survey also highlights the additional challenges for First Nations communities and reserves, where jurisdictional and governance barriers limit their ability to access funding.
- Many respondents expressed concern that a significant and disproportionate burden of responsibility for managing wildfire risk is borne at the community‐level, and most believe that the provincial and federal government, individual homeowners, and industry and business should be doing much more.
- In terms of existing structures for support, conflicts of governance between different agencies, land ownership types, and local versus provincial‐level decision-makers were viewed as major challenges to progress towards wildfire preparedness.